Turn Around Don’t Drown: Tips for Driving During a Flood

by Gwen Newell

While hurricane season runs from June through November each year, heavy storms can occur at any time. If your area experiences heavy rainfall and you start to notice standing water, please proceed with caution when driving and make smart decisions behind the wheel.

AAA has a few driving tips for motorists dealing with the effects of heavy rain and flooding:

  • Visibility While Driving: If you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance while driving during wet weather, pull off the road as far as you can and wait for the rain to ease up. Make sure to turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
  • Slow Down and Leave Room: Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. It is important for motorists to allow ample stopping distance between cars by increasing the following distance of the vehicle in front of them.
  • Avoid Cruise Control: Never use cruise control in wet conditions. The chances of losing control of your vehicle greatly increase.
  • Responding to a Skid: Even the most careful drivers can experience skids. If a driver feels their car is about to skid, don’t panic and follow these basic steps: continue to look and steer in the direction the driver wants the car to go and avoid slamming on the brakes to maintain control.
  • Avoid Standing Water and Flooded Roads at All Times: There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road and driving through it can be very dangerous. Flooded roads can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle from: flooding the engine, warping brake rotors, loss of power steering, short in electrical components.
  • If Your Vehicle Stalls in a Flooded Area: DO NOT REMAIN IN THE CAR. Abandon your vehicle as soon as possible and seek higher ground. Flood waters can elevate quickly, sweeping away the vehicle and its occupants.

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